When governments are displaced they can persist within contemporary states as ‘religions’ that maintain their patriarchal origins and character, says Professor Naomi Goldenberg. Since women’s challenges to male domination have only met with some success in recent times within fairly contemporary forms of statecraft, if earlier states known as ‘religions’ are allowed too much authority over domains such as ‘the family’ or ‘the home,’ women will be the losers, she argues.
Religion scholar Professor Naomi Goldenberg, who is visiting Britain in April 2012, here outlines her hypothesis that religions can be productively thought of as 'vestigial states'. She considers this to be one way of de-essentialising, demystifying and deconstructing the category of 'religion'.
Richard Dawkins' oft-publicised arguments about beliefs rest on classificatory dividing lines between ‘religion’ and ‘science’, ‘faith’ and ‘secular’ reason. In his passionate rebuttal, Dr Timothy Fitzgerald suggests that, contrary to popular perception, the armies of generalities so deployed have little meaningful content, but instead serve to legitimate rhetorical positions behind which lie the framework of liberal capitalist ideology derived from colonialism.